Defence Images/Crown Copyright>
28 June 2021
Our new Military Briefing: Persons with Disabilities and Armed Conflict provides guidance to the armed forces on how to integrate a disability perspective into military manuals and the training of their militaries.
‘Today, most publicly available military manuals do not integrate a disability perspective. Ensuring that they do so is a first and essential step to introduce militaries to the topic and ultimately ensure that armed forces do protect and assist persons with disabilities during armed conflicts’ explains Professor Gloria Gaggioli, Director of the Geneva Academy.
‘We are confident that this will help military legal advisers, military personnel in charge of developing training manuals and training modules for the armed forces, as well as those in charge of designing and conducting operations on the ground to integrate this much-needed and mandatory disability perspective’ she adds.
Defence Images/Crown Copyright
As shown by our larger academic research, key international humanitarian law (IHL) provisions that serve to minimize the impact of armed conflict – such as the proportionality assessment and advanced effective warnings – are not being applied in a disability-inclusive manner, resulting in persons with disabilities being killed, seriously injured or left behind as families flee armed attacks.
This Military Briefing introduces militaries to this topic by exploring the meaning of disability and the incorrect understandings that must be avoided. It provides a brief overview of the impact of armed conflict on persons with disabilities before moving to the protections afforded to persons with disabilities under IHL.
‘In doing so, we notably focused on effective advance warnings and the treatment of detainees with disabilities to demonstrate what is at stake when militaries do not take a disability-inclusive approach, and how equality in the application of IHL can be achieved’ underlines Professor Gaggioli
The paper offers a number of concrete recommendations on specific areas, showing the possibility to integrate a disability perspective into military manuals and military operations.
For example, it details the meaning of ‘accessible warnings’ to persons in the vicinity of armed attacks, and sets our feasible measures regarding the treatment of prisoners of war with disability, in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
This Military Briefing was discussed at an online expert seminar co-organized with the International Committee of the Red Cross and Diakonia in March 2021. Insights, in particular from military stakeholders, provided avenues to continue this practice-oriented work via outreach events and targeted discussions with military legal advisers.
Discover our resources and what our experts say about the situation in Ukraine, with regular updates to include new events, articles and comments!
U.S. Air Force
This panel discussion – co-organized with ICoCA – will consider the growing importance of PMCs and the role ICoCA might play in promoting human rights observance and strengthening accountability of these actors in armed conflicts.
This online short course provides an overview of the content and evolution of the rules governing the use of unilateral force in international law, including military intervention on humanitarian grounds and the fight against international terrorism. It focuses on the practice of states and international organizations.
This online short course discusses the protection offered by international humanitarian law (IHL) in non-international armed conflicts (NIACs) and addresses some problems and controversies specific to IHL of NIACs, including the difficulty to ensure the respect of IHL by armed non-state actors.
Medical Aid for Palestinians / Ezz Al Zanoon
This project aimed to ensure better protection of and assistance for persons with disabilities in situations of armed conflict or its aftermath by identifying legal obligations to protect and assist persons with disabilities during conflict, and the policies and practices required to put these obligations into effect.
NYU Stern BH
This project aimed at supporting the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights' project for the 10th anniversary of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.